Many gardening books advise that springtime is the time to amend garden soil with lime. Plants that are planted in soil that has a neutral pH can access the nutrients in the soil more easily than soil with higher and lower pH. If soil is acidic, or has a pH lower than 6.0, lime can be used to raise the pH so that the soil is neutral. Lime can even be added to established flower beds.
Dig a teaspoon full of dirt out of the bed of soil surrounding your perennial flowers.
Place this dirt into a commercial pH tester such as the kind available from your local garden center.
Fill the pH tester with liquid pH testing fluid. Allow the fluid to change color. Consult the chart that was enclosed with your testing kit to help determine the pH of the tested soil. The hue of the fluid should match with the pH level shown on the chart. This will help you to determine if the soil needs a lime amendment.
Loosen the soil around the root system of the plant with a cultivating fork starting at a distance of 2 inches from the plant’s stems or canes.
Sprinkle lime into the furrows created by your cultivating fork. The rate of lime application varies depending on the soil’s pH, and whether your soil is sandy, loamy or clay-like in structure. Sandy soils need much less lime than clay soils.
Work lime into the soil by scratching at the soil with the cultivator until the lime is distributed in the soil to a depth of 2 inches.
Water the flower bed well with a garden hose to dissolve the lime in the soil.